Posts tagged 'Windermere YHA'

A long weekend around Windermere – Part 2 – Two waterfalls

Posted by on April 6th 2010 in Bargains, Great Escapes, Shiny new kit, YHA

Compared to the previous day of constantly overcast but dry weather, Saturday started out as a mixed bag of interspersed drizzle and dry sunny spells. We decided that we were going to have an easier day, and a visit to some waterfalls seemed to fit the bill nicely. A study of the map and a recommendation from a fellow hosteller resulted in us deciding to go to Skelwith Force, followed by a gentle walk along part of the Cumbria Way to Colwith Force.

I won't bore you with a step-by-step text analysis, you can just have the pics instead. Suffice to say that it was a fine morning walk enjoyed by all.

On the flat rocks at Skelwith Force

Skelwith Force

Near Park House

Near Park Farm

Colwith Force

Staying away from the edge

Colwith Force again

Above Colwith Force

A tributary of Colwith Beck


After returning to the cars we spent the rest of the afternoon in Ambleside, as it was necessary to buy gifts for folk back home. We scoured The Mountain Factor, The Climber's Shop, Cunninghams, Gaynors and the like, looking for some good-quality bargain three-season boots for Ella, but to no avail. Needless to say we steered well clear of F***d and T**k. They may well have actually had what we wanted at 99% discount, but we wouldn't have given them the time of day, let alone the cash. We ended up buying a couple of cheap sledges instead, and the others bought Buffs.

Back at the hostel we did the quick wash/change routine and soon were back outside, this time heading for Windermere, searching for somewhere to eat. Most places were either closed or full, but we found The Elleray to be practically empty so getting a table for eight wasn't a problem. The place was brilliant - there was a good choice, servings were vast and the prices were seriously low, to the point where we thought that they'd made a mistake with the bill. The staff were very kid-friendly, supplying our youngest three with crayons and huge colouring-books to use and take home. The place was packed out within an hour, with folk waiting for tables, so I guess that we'd just dropped lucky.

Back at the hostel again and it was time for the kids to chill before they went to bed:

The Hostel

DS time

Story time

We adults managed some beers and chinwagging for a few hours before retiring to our micro-rooms.

On Sunday our friends had to leave straight away to visit relatives, but we had another morning to enjoy before heading home. The intent was to park up near Hird Wood on the Kirkstone Road and to walk the short distance up Troutbeck Tongue, but heavy rain in the night had made the route a complete mudbath and had made the stream too dangerous for the kids to cross safely. A quick change of plan saw us spend a few minutes in the car-park at the top of the pass, and then detour to Ambleside via The Struggle. The scenery was awesome, according to the kids, but the camera had been packed away so I took no pictures of the snowy landscapes. We carried on to Windermere where I pulled into the small car-park outside The Outdoor Warehouse - by strange coincidence our friends' car was already there. The shop wasn't open yet, so we decided to wait, just in case they had any suitable boots for Ella.

Well, I needn't have doubted. Charlie and Jon opened up the shop for us and we headed for the boots. I saw their AKU display and then saw the sale prices on their clearance lines, and I knew that we'd struck gold. Ella tried on some discontinued Croda GTXs (half-price at £87.50) and fell for them instantly. Despite her enthusiasm, Jon insisted that she wandered the shop in them for a decent amount of time, just to be sure that they really did fit properly and feel comfy.

Ella's Croda GTXs


While this went on, I had a good mooch around the other wonderful stuff on display, refraining from investing in another Rab VapourRise jacket, and discussing Podcast Bob's Honey Stove, of which a fair few were on prominent display in the shop-windows. When Ella was sorted, I was asked why I was looking so envious. I had to explain that I'd been after a pair of AKUs for ages but could never justify the expense. I was led back into the boot-room where I was "persuaded" to try on some discontinued Edge GTXs, (again at half-price, this time at £80) but they really didn't suit my feet, and besides that I don't really need another pair of B2- or B3-rated boots - the Scarpa Freney Pros that I have will outlast me at the current wear-rate. They (my family) then cajoled me into trying the mens version of the Croda GTX, and I just had to buy them in order to stop them all nagging at me...


My Croda GTXs (bought under extreme duress)

So, if you're after some discounted AKUs, have a look at what the guys at The Outdoor Warehouse have to offer. When we were there they still had a good range of sizes (and half-sizes) and colours for quite a few discontinued models in the range. If you're into Marmot kit, they have some good 60%-off deals on "sample" garments too. Go see - online if you have to, but preferably in person, as Charlie and Jon are great guys to talk to.

There, I'll bet that wasn't the ending that you were expecting, eh? BG! buys something hi-tech and lightweight, but not "Jessiehiker". Ooda thunkit!

A long weekend around Windermere – Part 1 – Two Wainwrights

Posted by on April 6th 2010 in Great Escapes, YHA

This was always going to be an interesting experience - we were going away with another family who were new to hostelling and to fellwalking, so many things were going to be different - the planning, the sharing of responsibility, the scope of what we deemed to be achievable given the ages and inexperience of the younger members of our group.

Things started to get interesting right from the off... after getting everybody settled in the cars we pulled out of the driveway but couldn't get out of the Close, as our adjoining neighbours had set their property alight and there was a fire-engine blocking the exit. Thankfully nobody was hurt and there was little damage, due to the quick response of the Fire Service. The car's trip-computer couldn't calculate the journey-stats, but the sad fact was that we'd covered ten metres in 40 minutes.

The Thursday afternoon journey up the standard A5/M6 route was frustrating, there being many hold-ups due to accidents/roadworks/bad weather, but after a few extra hours we arrived at Ings to sample the delights of the Little Chef. From there it was but a short trip to Windermere YHA, where we were assigned a couple of family-dorms that were by far the smallest that I'd ever stayed in. I think that if I had been new to family-hostelling I'd have been put off for life by this, as there wasn't even enough space between the bunks to walk without clattering the steps. Thankfully our friends were tolerant and the matter didn't become a major issue, but in future I think we'll be asking about dorm-sizes before making a booking. That was all that was poor about the hostel. We dined there on the Friday evening and had all of our breakfasts there, and all of the meals were of good quality. The staff were very helpful and all of our kids liked the place, so all was well.

Friday dawned grey and damp but the outlook was good, so we stayed with the original plan of having a simple walk as a test of what we could achieve as a group. We chose to walk from the hostel towards the Garburn Pass, and at Garburn Nook we would have the option to bag Sallows and perhaps Sour Howes before we returned. Nothing too high and risky, but the prospect of fairly good views and some easy snow underfoot was sufficient incentive for the kids to get excited.

The first leg was a bit of road-walking. The daffodils were just waking up...

Daffs in the woods


... as we headed towards Town End:

The approach to Town End


From Town End we took the footpath down to the two bridges over Trout Beck where we had a few minutes of rest and play:


The first bridge

The second bridge

Trout Beck


From there we walked up the slope to the A592 and made our way along it to a delightful mossy-walled bridleway that went up beside The Howe:


Mossy wall

The rising path gave us ever-wider views of the fells surrounding the lowly Troutbeck Tongue:


Caudale Moor, Thornthwaite Crag, Froswick and Ill Bell surrounding Troutbeck Tongue


There was some interesting cut wood lying around:

A bit further up we got a better view of Troutbeck Tongue:

Troutbeck Tongue


... and we found some woods where we might find friendly bears, according to one member of our party...

Approaching the lair of the friendly bears


... who thought it was a good idea to hold hands with someone, just in case the bears weren't feeling that friendly after all:

Bear-hunters - formidable and fearsome, and yet casual and relaxed. It's an interesting tactic, IMO

We made it unscathed to Garburn Nook and then headed up the track to the ridge:

Geoff looks on as the others tackle the track to the ridge


While the others got comfy at the ridge, us blokes took a short stroll to the top of Sallows, from where we got a fair view of Sour Howes:

Sour Howes from Sallows


Geoff reaches the top of Sallows

The view from the top of Sallows

Back at the ridge we prepped for a split in our party. Ella nipped off alone to bag Sallows and would join us blokes on the easy trudge to Sour Howes, while the others returned to the Garburn Road, having achieved enough for the day.

We encountered some patchy yet deep snow on the way to Sour Howes:

Ella in the snow, making snowballs to chuck at Geoff


Geoff gets his revenge 🙂


The final pic of the day was of Windermere from the slopes of Sour Howes:


We caught up with the others on the Garburn Road and retraced our route until we reached the end of the bridleway. Instead of going via the two bridges we stuck to the road, crossed Church Bridge and went back via Low Fold and Town End.

The kids had really enjoyed the adventure and hadn't struggled at all, which was good news. Back at the hostel we had a lazy evening and a good meal while figuring out what to do for the next day.

To be continued...

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